Researchers worldwide are testing 132 COVID-19 vaccine candidates, including 42 that are in clinical trials on humans and at least 92 in preclinical or animal trials, according to the New York Times.
With the U.S. alone topping 200,000 COVID-19 deaths this week and continued pressure to deliver a safe and effective vaccine, these companies and several others are working very quickly to make a vaccine that meets regulatory standards. Seven pharma companies have received funding for vaccine development and/or manufacturing from the U.S. government’s “Operation Warp Speed” initiative.
Operation Warp Speed’s goal is to produce and deliver 300 million doses of safe and effective vaccines with the initial doses available by January 2021. Pressure from President Trump to produce a vaccine sooner has led to pushback from some government officials and from the pharmaceutical companies working on vaccine candidates. Nine drug companies pledged in early September to ensure safety with a potential COVID-19 vaccine and only submit for approval or emergency use authorization (EUA) after demonstrating safety and efficacy through a Phase 3 clinical study.
As of this week, major drug companies have five COVID-19 vaccine candidates in Phase 3 clinical trials, while one under development by a pair of other companies is not as far along.
“Four COVID-19 vaccine candidates are in Phase 3 clinical testing in the United States just over eight months after SARS-CoV-2 was identified,” NIAID Director Dr. Anthony Fauci said earlier this week. “This is an unprecedented feat for the scientific community made possible by decades of progress in vaccine technology and a coordinated, strategic approach across government, industry and academia. It is likely that multiple COVID-19 vaccine regimens will be required to meet the global need.”
A fifth vaccine candidate, formulated by Novavax, just began a Phase 3 clinical trial in the U.K.
Here’s an overview of the some of the leading candidates and their progress.